Social networking is the #1 risk to information security

The consumerisation of IT has made security far more difficult to manage according to research published by McAfee at its Security Summit in London. This is exemplified by the introduction of personal devices, the growth of social networking and the explosion of employee-created and managed data.
Nearly 62% of respondents cited social networking as a significant threat to information security in their organisation, while the growth of emails and other unstructured data came a close second with 59% acknowledging it as a serious risk. When it came to mobile security, the single biggest problem remains not the technology but the practices and behaviours of users, with employees’ failure to follow data-retention policies (59%) and lost or stolen devices (58%) topping the list of concerns.
Other key findings of the research include:

  • Bad BYOD policy? IT professionals harbour deep concerns about the impact of BYOD on security and threat management. Fewer than one in five respondents (19%) said their organisations had a comprehensive BYOD policy for users’ personal mobile devices, and more than half of those whose organisations had such a policy felt it increased security complexity significantly or moderately.
  • Personal risks: 46% of respondents thought personally owned consumer devices represent a significant threat, compared with only 27% who thought the same of consumer devices issued by the business. This suggests it would be more likely that business-issued devices would be “scrubbed” more thoroughly for security vulnerabilities than personal devices.
  • Attracting cloudy threats: The research investigated why IT executives felt cloud computing made their organisation more susceptible to security breaches and data loss. A shocking 60% of respondents felt that cloud computing’s growing prominence and market visibility made cloud-based applications more inviting as threat targets for cybercriminals.
  • Complexities of virtualisation: 49% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that supporting a mix of physical and virtual machines makes infrastructure security far more difficult than it had been with physical-only
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